Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Don’t ‘break your head’ trying to say these American expressions in Spanish

Speaking another language is hard. In fact, it’s so hard, that we’ve produced a guide to stop you from breaking your head trying to articulate your thoughts in Spanish. ¿Alguna vez te has roto la cabeza por no encontrar lo que quieres decir en español? Language is a powerful tool, but sometimes finding the right words can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. ¿Te suena familiar? 

Let’s explore some common English idioms and their Spanish equivalents to unravel the mystery of expression.

Beat Around the Bush – Andarse con rodeos 

When someone is avoiding the topic or not getting straight to the point, you might say they are “beating around the bush.” In Spanish, this translates to “andarse con rodeos.” 

Next time someone is not being straightforward, try this expression: 

Example: No te andes con rodeos, solo ve al grano! 

Stop beating around the bush, cut to the chase! 


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Speak of the Devil – Hablando del Rey de Roma

In Spanish, the equivalent expression for this idiom is “Hablando del Rey de Roma.” It’s a fun way to acknowledge that the person you were just talking about has unexpectedly shown up. Next time this happens, try smoothly using the Spanish version!

Example: Carlos: ¿Has visto a Sofía últimamente? No la he visto en semanas.

Have you seen Sofia lately? I haven’t seen her in weeks! 

Ana: No, ni yo. Hablando del Rey de Roma, ¡mira quien llegó! 

Neither have I. Speaking of the devil, look who’s here!

Sofía: ¡Hola! ¿De qué están hablando? 

Hey! What are you talking about?

Carlos: Estábamos precisamente hablando de que no te veíamos hace mucho. 

We were just saying that we haven’t seen you in a long time. 

Costs an Arm and a Leg – Costar un ojo de la cara

Have you ever wanted to buy something that cost an arm and a leg? In Spanish, the equivalent phrase is “costar un ojo de la cara.” Now you can tell your friends about that new gadget you desire while sacrificing a totally different body part.

Example: Ana: Si vas a ir al concierto? 

Are you going to the concert? 

Sofía: No, cuesta un ojo de la cara. 

No, it costs an arm and a leg. 

Understanding idioms not only enriches your language skills but also provides insights into local culture. So, whether you find yourself beating around the bush, speaking of the devil, or buying something that costs an arm and a leg, remember that language is a journey – one that often involves a bit of cabeza-breaking along the way. But fear not, as each idiom cracked is a step closer to mastering the art of expression in Spanish. 

Paulina Gerez is a translator-interpreter, content creator, and founder of Crack The Code, a series of online courses focused on languages. Through her social media, she helps people see learning a language from another perspective through her fun experiences. Instagram: paulinagerezm / Tiktok: paugerez3 / YT: paulina gerez


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